Understanding Brand Values and Why They Matter
By Adwright, 30 September 2022
“If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand.”
– Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks
The Importance of Brand Values
Today, let’s talk about brand values. By that, we mean the foundational beliefs of a company, rather than Brand Equity (discussed briefly in our article on Brand Safety in an Era of Misinformation) referring to a brand’s inherent worth based on consumer perception and experience. It’s easy to pay little heed to defining your brand’s values, especially when there are weightier or sexier tasks at hand. Yet, these small but powerful brand values essentially form the cornerstone of everything the brand believes in and does.
Serving as the company’s backbone, this set of principles guides a company as it seeks to fulfil its unique brand mission and vision. These establish a clear roadmap for the brand’s actions, whether in broader processes such as developing the brand story, brand strategy, designing campaigns, or even in day-to-day decisions such as hiring people reflecting the brand’s core values.
As a company shows authenticity, commitment and consistency to aligning with its brand values, this can help build deeper resonance and trust with its target audience. In today’s socially-conscious society, research shows that 82% of shoppers want a brand’s values to align with their own, according to recent Harris Poll research commissioned by Google Cloud. In fact, three-quarters of shoppers had parted ways with a brand over conflicting values, reflecting the significance of brand values in one’s loyalty (or lack thereof) to a brand. Indeed, stronger resonance between the brand and consumers positively impacts brand loyalty, and this translates to higher brand equity.
Do Brand Values Really Matter?
From the moment we open our eyes in the morning, a plethora of brands seek our attention, whether directly or indirectly. Whether it’s the brand of your toothpaste, facial cleanser, Apple or Android phone, Sunshine bread and EZ-Link card, marketing experts estimate we come across thousands of brands every day. How then, do we choose the brands we do every time?
A recent survey on brand values by IBM indicated that the largest segment (at 44%) of consumers are now purpose-driven in their purchasing behaviour, choosing products and brands based on how well they align to their values. Even when consumers are not making these conscious decisions, Harvard professor and author Gerald Zaltman of How Customers Think: Essential Insights into the Mind of the Market states that 95% of purchasing decisions are triggered by the subconscious mind, where our core values also operate.
In addition to the significance of brand values on consumer purchasing decisions, strong brand values can set your brand apart from competitors. In a fast-paced market abounding with similar offerings, clear brand values construct a distinct brand personality and identity perceived by audiences. This in turn attracts the attention of like-minded consumers sharing identical beliefs and qualities.
Take Oddle Eats, for example. Having launched the new online ordering platform over the pandemic period, the local brand lacked a strong brand tonality and copy style. As a result, it was challenged by inconsistent branding while it also sought to increase brand awareness. The Adwright team got to work on aligning the brand’s identity and developing a consistent communication strategy. Throughout the branding process, Oddle Eats’ core brand values guided the team in crafting the overall brand message, brand story and key visuals. In building a consistent brand presence across various communication channels, Adwright helped establish Oddle Eats as an authentic and coherent brand that users can trust for their food needs.
Poorly-Defined Brand Values Often Result in Bad Branding
It’s clear that strong brand values can benefit branding strategies and bolster trust with consumers. Strong brands have also become associated with excellent market performance over the past decade, according to McKinsey & Company. However, some might be wondering if conversely, skipping out and saving time on defining brand values can lead to bad branding.
Bad branding conveys a negative or even inaccurate impression of the company as a whole, as well as its core values, mission and vision. Without brand values acting as a north-star aligning these elements throughout the company, branding inconsistencies can surface and undermine brand perception. As trust is often built on an emotional level between consumers and brands, consumers may begin doubting a brand’s commitment to their pledged values and their needs, and eroding valuable trust placed in the brand.
Poorly-defined brand values may also ineffectively communicate your brand identity. As companies seek to stand out in a fast-changing market, fostering a generic set of brand values can mean fading into obscurity. Sharing similar values with other brands makes it difficult to form meaningful, deeper connections with audiences, so taking that extra time to ensure your brand values convey unique qualities will help make your brand personal and relevant to your target consumer.
At Adwright, we understand the paramount importance of having a reputable brand image. With our finesse and experience in curating strategic brand messages, we create the brand equity needed for marketing to succeed. While we are experts at building brand assets, it is our clients who play the biggest role in building trust with their customer base. After all, where there is trust, there is loyalty – the key factors that determine a brand’s reputation.
Adwright is an award-winning integrated branding agency in Singapore with over 25 years of experience in the industry and counting. We have collaborated with clients ranging from local SMEs to global corporations, spanning across many industries. We provide integrated solutions in branding, design, communications and beyond to help you bring your brand’s presence to market. Partner with us and embark on your unique brand journey today. To find out more about the services that Adwright provides, call us today at +65 6227 7227 or email email@example.com.